Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI)

 

In the Magnetic Resonance Imaging track, students will take the following core courses in the first two years of entering the program:

  • Functional MRI Contrast Mechanisms and Applications
  • Functional MRI Journal Club
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance
  • Seminar

During a student's first two years, courses in biophysics, biostatistics and a biomedical science are taken in combination to complement the student's strengths and interests and as needed for their research direction. This allows students to gain experience in both technical and applied areas. Since students' time is not occupied by teaching requirements, they will be involved with a research area under the direction of a faculty member. Students typically coauthor several refereed journal publications prior to graduation. Directed studies and research courses are available to students, as are classes at two area universities: Marquette University and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

A written comprehensive qualifying exam and oral dissertation proposal defense are expected to be completed by the middle of the third year of the program. A final dissertation defense is expected to occur by the fifth year of study.

 

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Magnetic Resonance Imaging Courses

Biophysics 03230: Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (3 credits)

This course is designed as an introduction to nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). Emphasis will be placed on modern MRS techniques and their application to structural determinations of biomolecules. Imaging-guided in vivo spectroscopy and its applications to biomedicine will also be introduced.

 

Biophysics 03239: Functional MRI Contrast Mechanisms and Applications (3 credits)

The use of MRI to evaluate tissue function will be described. The course will be dedicated to discussing fMRI methods that use both endogenous contrast (labeled water, deoxygenated blood) and exogenous (injectable) MR contrast agents to image tissue function. The theory and physiology necessary for understanding MR contrast mechanisms, together with the practical knowledge necessary for performing MR experiments, will be discussed. Demonstrations of fMRI experiments will be included.

 

Biophysics 03240: Fourier Transforms (3 credits)

This course provides basic knowledge for students who will continue to study EPR or NMR. Material will cover the theory of Fourier transforms, digital transforms, NMR images, reconstruction, pulse spectroscopy methods and electrical signal processing. An understanding of calculus and tensor vectors is recommended.

 

Biophysics 03238: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (3 credits)

This course focuses on the physics of modern MRI. It will take a classical approach to spin physics and will focus on pulse sequences, k-space analysis and hardware. An understanding of calculus is required.

Biophysics 03240: Fourier Transforms is required prior to taking this course.

 

Biophysics 03295: Readings and Research (1 to 9 credits)
 

Biophysics 03298: Biophysics MRI Journal Club (1 credit)

Selected papers in theory, practice and application of MRI will be read and discussed in separate sessions.

 

Biophysics 03300: Seminar (1 credit)

Weekly invited seminar speakers present their research on molecular biophysics or MRI topics.

 

Molecular Biophysics

 

In the Molecular Biophysics track, students will take the following courses in the first two years of entering the program:

 

  • Advanced Protein Chemistry or Free Radicals in Biology
  • Biochemistry of the Cell
  • Biophysical Techniques in Biochemistry
  • Cell Signaling
  • Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (Theory and Practical Applications)
  • EPR Journal Club
  • Genetics
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology
  • Seminar
  • Techniques in Molecular and Cellular Biology

 

In addition to the introductory core classes listed above, students have the opportunity to take more advanced classes specific to their chosen area of research. A qualifying exam and dissertation proposal defense are expected to be completed by the middle of the third year of the program. A final dissertation defense is expected to occur by the fifth year of study. 

  

Molecular Biophysics Courses

Biophysics 03222: Biophysical Techniques in Biochemistry (3 credits)

This course will introduce the basic theory and practical applications of an array of biophysical techniques commonly used in biochemical research. Optical and magnetic spectroscopies, x-ray crystallography and kinetics techniques are just a sampling of the topics covered in this comprehensive course.

 

Biophysics 03223: Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (3 credits)

The aim of the course is to introduce the theory and practical applications of modern EPR spectroscopy. Basic EPR theory, biological free-radical spectroscopy, relaxation and motional phenomena, spin labeling and transition-metal EPR are among the topics covered.

 

Biophysics 03251: Free Radicals in Biology (3 credits)

Topics to be discussed include the nature of free radicals; radical initiation, propagation and termination; free-radical reactions of biological interest; and the role of free radicals in physiological and pathological processes.

 

Biophysics 03295: Readings and Research (1 to 9 credits)
 

Biophysics 03298: Biophysics EPR Journal Club (1 credit)

Selected papers in theory, practice and application of EPR spectroscopy will be read and discussed in separate sessions.

 

Biophysics 03300: Seminar (1 credit)

Weekly invited seminar speakers present their research on molecular biophysics or MRI topics.